On January 20, 2016 I got an email that said, “Congratulations, you are part of the initial group of players selected to the roster for the upcoming U.S. Soccer U-15 Girls’ National Team training camp in Carson, California.” I was speechless and extremely excited to know that I would be representing our country.
On Saturday, February 11 we arrived into LAX. The nerves started to kick in once we landed and got off the plane. After getting to the hotel and checking in, we had a light training after a long day of traveling.
Walking into our locker room at the Stubhub Center, seeing the U.S. crest on the wall, having your name at the top of your locker, everything prepared and laid out, our jerseys draped over our chair, just topped it off with another level of inspiration. Being selected as one of the 40 best players in the nation, makes you think about all of the sacrifices you have made, and hard work and dedication you have put into be where you are today.
After training we went back to the hotel and had some dinner and a team meeting directly after that with all of our coaches and our physiologist. We were instructed to fill out a “wellness paper” in the morning. The wellness paper had different columns asking about our level of soreness, level of stress, hours we slept, and fatigueness. These papers helped our trainers to communicate with the coaches how we were feeling and if we are well enough to play. Along with filling out the wellness paper, we had to have daily weigh-ins and hydration tests.
Everyday we had two sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening. All five of us goalkeepers would go with our goalkeeper trainer (Nicole Barnhart) before the team would start training. Monday morning was technical testing day. For the goalkeepers they tested mostly on distance and accuracy in the distribution category. Goal Kicks, punts, dropkicks, throws, and all around different types of distribution was judged. Juggling with both feet separately and together were tested as well. Switching between different tests, we had 10-15 balls kicked at us to test our footwork and our skill with our hands. I did pretty well overall in the testing. I placed number one out of the goalkeepers but there is a lot of room for improvement. Our second session that day was very light compared to what we did in the morning.
Friday we were supposed to play two SoCal teams but sadly we had flash flood warnings and 25 mph winds. Our games got moved to Thursday but the SoCal teams could not make it to Stubhub in the limited amount of time. We had an intense morning session on Thursday to prepare us for our scrimmage later on in the day. We ended up splitting the 40 girls into three teams and play 35 minute games against each other.
The speed of play throughout camp was very fast! The way that our team kept possession of the ball was phenomenal. One of our coaches, April Kater said, “The way you guys keep possession of the ball, looks like you have been playing together for 20 years, not just one week.” Each session no matter if we were with the team or just the goalkeepers, they were very intense, fast, and also really fun. Something I learned and was exaggerated at camp many times, was that you are going to fail. You are going to fail and without failing you won’t get better. You figure out your mistake and then fix it. “You are going to humiliate yourself, and you are going to have to laugh it off. Failure is on our journey” – Coach Mark Carr (Head coach). I realized throughout camp, it is okay to fail and you can’t control it. No one is perfect. As much as you don’t want to, you have to accept the goals that go in the back of your net. Something I do after I get scored on is think about my mistake and move past it. You can’t keep thinking about that goal the rest of the game because you then will not perform at your best.
I am extremely thankful and blessed for the opportunity given to me because not everyone is lucky enough to get this chance to shine. “This is your time to shine… shine bright like a diamond” -Coach Mark Carr. I have learned so much at this camp and realized that the smallest and tiniest things make a huge difference in your performance in practice and in games. I hope to be back soon to the training camps with the National Team. A group of players will be taken to Germany in November of 2017 to play a international friendly. My most priorital goal is to improve on my play to get better and to be one of the goalkeepers to get my first cap with the U-15 USWNT in Germany!
I am very appreciative to the Pleasanton Rage Organization as well as Cal North ODP for the opportunities and support they have given me. Special thanks to coaches; Ramiro Rodriguez, Kevin Whitehand, Darin Preszler, John Byford, Walter Pratte, Derrek Lesley, and to my personal coach Justin Rothling who has trained me since I was six years old.
Holiday Gifts for Local Kids and Families
Our service project was working with the Pleasanton Police Department to deliver Holiday Gifts to kids and families around Pleasanton who don’t have a lot of money to buy gifts. The P.P.D (Pleasanton Police Department) gave us a list of kids by age and gender that were in need of gifts. We shared that list with our soccer team and asked them to donate gifts for our project. Some people donated money for us to pick out the gifts instead. We also asked for donations from our friends and family as well. We then took the money that was donated and went shopping for the kids on the list we still needed gifts for which was fun! We ended up having a gift for all of the kids on the list! When we donated all the gifts to the P.P.D they told us we could go out with them to deliver them! We met the officer at the police station on Dec. 20th, 2016. They told us which items we would be delivering, and introduced us to the officer that would be helping us. He let us load up a wagon and wheel them to the car and load them in. We got to ride in the police car, even though there wasn’t any lights it was pretty cool. We made lots of stops and everyone was very thankful. We felt very happy we were able to give to kids who might not have gotten a present during the holidays! It reminded us to be thankful for what we have and to always give more than we receive. It definitely made us feel happy that day to make others smile.
-Camryn Hobizal and Daniela Robinson, 05 Grey RAGE
For our service project we decided to help beautify our fields by picking up the trash at the Pleasanton Sports Park. We wanted to do our part to keep our awesome fields as clean and safe as they can be.
The issue that we wanted tackle was the appearance and safety of our playing fields. We are very lucky to have such great fields to practice and play on. We have seen other clubs fields and realized that our fields are a lot healthier than some others. Other fields have garbage and bottles left laying about. We wanted to participate in keeping our fields as clean as possible.
Our first step was to agree on a service project. This was pretty easy to do. We decided to pick up garbage at the Pleasanton Sports Park. To complete our project, we went to the sports park on a school night for about 2 hours to pick up garbage that was left behind. After we were done, we put the garbage into the trash can where it belongs.
There were 2 people who helped us coordinate this project, Dana Chavez/Seipel and Kiera Winslow. There were 3 people included in our project: Sydney Seipel, Helena Stewart, and Gillian (Gillie) Winslow. It was very kind of them to help us out on this project.
We started around 4pm and it took about an 2 hours to walk the whole park and fully clean the sports fields. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of trash to pick up so the project was short and simple but we did make a small difference. We are so lucky to have such great fields to play on. It makes us appreciate even more the great community that we live in and our awesome soccer club.
Our mentors were Erika Carlson, Dana Chavez/Seipel, and Kiera Winslow. Dana brought gloves and trash bags, as did Kiera. Kiera took us out to find trash which was very kind. In the end, thanks for mentoring us.
We would like to take this project into next season and continue to help pick up our fields after our games. We will collect recyclables (ie. water bottles) and trash left by other teams. If we collect enough recyclables we will donate the proceeds to a local charity.
For our leadership project, we did a bake sale to raise money for the women’s homeless shelter. Overall, the people who contributed to the sale was Emma, Casey, and Brooke. We baked all day making brownies, rice crispies, and cookies. We then sold the goodies at Casey’s sister’s soccer game. We also sold the treats at our own soccer games. Our final amount we collected was $319. We gave the money to Shepard’s gate (a women’s homeless shelter). Overall, we had a lot of fun working together and giving back to the community.
Hi, my name is Siena Queirolo, and I play for 05 Elite II. For my leadership project, I invited soccer players from different clubs to team up in the spirit of good sportsmanship, friendship, and compassion to pack food at Kids Against Hunger in Pleasanton.
Kids Against Hunger, or KAH, is an organization where they organize people to raise money and pack food to be shipped around the world to kids that need it. Haiti is an example of one of the places where KAH provides food. These kids don’t have any shelter, food, or sometimes even families. I really like this organization because I think they are doing a good thing by feeding hungry kids. Plus, it is a fun experience for groups when they pack food together. I did it with my soccer team during the summer as a team bonding event. We had fun doing something good for others.
It was important to me to help children that are not as fortunate as me. I thought I could accomplish more if I could get more people involved. I thought it would help me with my leadership skills as well. For my leadership project, I really wanted to inspire others to help and make a difference in the world.
First, I called the Sherri, the person who is the head organizer for KAH, to book a date to pack food. I hoped to get at least 20 people packing food on December 15, 2016. Then, I called some of my friends that I knew played soccer. I asked them if they could bring some friends from their teams to the packing event. I also sent an email to current and past teammates. It was hard to get volunteers because it was a busy time of year. The last few days before the event, I finally saw people signing up. Over 40 people signed up and came to my packing event. Finally, I made chocolate chip cookies for the kids and adults who participated in the event. I put a tag on it with a lot of inspirational quotes on it.
The packing event was amazing! Soccer players from 4 different clubs came together and packed 6,264 meals. I saw players from Pleasanton Rage, Livermore Fusion, West Coast, and Dublin United. I couldn’t believe it! I think that we did a really good thing and made a difference in the world working together. I hope that I inspired other players to set up their own packing events and pack even more meals than my group did.